To many people, part of the college experience is going out drinking. The first month of college is notorious for hospital visits because of intoxication. You can easily avoid the hospital bills and failing grades by following these tips.

1. 1 beer = 1 glass of wine = 1 shot

Before someone hands you a drink you should understand how much alcohol it contains. Canned beers are usually a safe bet whereas mixed drinks are usually where people get messy. Different liquors have different proofs, which is a measurement of how much alcohol is in the liquor.

A can of Natty Light has a proof of 8 (4% ABV) where Smirnoff is 80 proof (40% ABV). Everclear is 190 proof (95% ABV) which is usually what you'll find in jungle juice.

2. Drink slowly at the pregame or miss the actual game

Everybody loves a good pregame but make sure you can actually make it to the actual party. It takes about 30 minutes to feel the real effect of a drink so if you're slamming shots from the start you're probably going to have a short night and painful morning. Pour yourself a mixed drink and give yourself some time to enjoy it.

3. Eat and drink water before and after you go out

If you know you are going to be ingesting an obscene amount of alcohol try to help your body a little bit by fueling it. At the end of the night, you'll feel more nauseous on an empty stomach than a full one. Order your drunk snacks before you go out so you don't have to wait for them when you get home. Put a glass of water next to your bed and chug it before you pass out for the night.

4. Know the signs of alcohol poisoning

There is a fair chance you or someone you know will have alcohol poisoning at least once. Signs of alcohol poisoning are vomiting, confusion, slow breathing, and unconsciousness. It is not normal to pass out while drinking or being unable to walk home.

If you think someone has alcohol poisoning do not be afraid of calling 911. Most colleges have a Good Samaritan law when it comes to underage drinking. People don't always just sleep it off.

5. Take care of your friends

No one should be walking home from a party when they're drunk. If you're going out with a group you should also be committed to leaving with that group, or tell them you're leaving with someone else. If you notice your friend doing something they shouldn't it's your responsibility to take care of them and keep them safe.

6. Mixing alcohol with drugs

A hard and fast rule is you shouldn't mix hard or psychoactive drugs with alcohol. Enjoy one or the other but not both. If you're someone who enjoys smoking weed and drinking understand how the effects on you changes. You're going to need to drink less to get the same feeling. Booze and weed are both depressants. There is a very fine line between being lit and being too crossfaded.

7. Not everyone drinks during college

Drinking isn't for everyone and that's totally normal. You don't need alcohol to have a good time. If you'd rather be studying on a Friday night or watching Netflix in bed don't feel bad about it. Partying in college isn't everything, but passing your classes is.

Don't pressure people into drinking because you probably don't know (or need to know) why they made that decision. There are a lot of reasons why someone chooses not to drink and they're all valid. Live and let live.

Now, go out and get lit and live to tell the stories over brunch.